How Do I Maintain My PMP Certification

How Do I Maintain My PMP® Certification?

Becoming a Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential holder is a huge accomplishment. If you have earned your PMP credential, you have joined the ranks of proven project management experts. And while this is an accomplishment you should certainly be proud of, there are more requirements to meet if you want to maintain your PMP certification status.

So much emphasis is placed on meeting the PMP certification requirements and passing the PMP certification exam, that many PMP credential holders may fail to realize that there is more work to be done. In fact, the work to maintain your status should begin the moment you pass the PMP exam!

Let’s look at some common questions PMP and aspiring credential holders have about how to maintain the PMP certification.

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How Do I Maintain the PMP Certification?

In short, you maintain the PMP certification by continuing to earn PDUs, which promote continued learning and industry engagement.

What Are PDUs?

Professional Development Units (PDUs) are Project Management Institute (PMI)-approved professional learning and development activities.

PDUs focus on developing the skills needed to be a successful PMP credential holder. As such, they use the PMI Talent Triangle® technical project management, leadership, and strategic and business management for their foundation.

As a reference point, one PDU earned is typically equivalent to one hour engaged in learning or development activities. However, for PDUs to count toward maintaining your PMP credential, the activities must be PMI-approved. There are two main ways to earn your PDUs:

  • Education – Education PDUs keep you up-to-date on the latest developments in the project management industry, and they focus heavily on the topics that make up the PMI Talent Triangle. You also have room to explore different elements of project management that may hold particular interest to you. Education PDUs can be earned through personal study, taking courses, or attending conferences or seminars.
  • Giving Back to the Profession – Being engaged in your profession is an essential aspect of being a successful PMP certification holder. In addition to education, giving back to your profession is another way to earn PDUs. This could mean volunteering to manage projects for free, becoming a thought leader by creating or publishing about the industry, or simply working as a project management professional.

How Many PDUs Do I Need to Earn to Maintain Certification?

To maintain your certification, you need to earn 60 PDUs every three years, beginning the day you pass the PMP certification exam.

Maintaining your certification is considered the CCR cycle, or the Continuing Certification Requirement cycle. So, once you’ve re-earned your PMP credential within the three-year time-frame, the process starts all over again. Thus, you must earn 60 PDUs every three years for the rest of your career to keep an active PMP certification status.

Are there Restrictions on the Types of PDUs I can Earn?

Though you need to earn 60 PDUs, there are a few stipulations on how PDUs are earned. For example, you must earn a minimum of 35 educational PDUs, and a maximum of 25 PDUs from giving back to the profession.

Of the 35 minimum education PDUs, you must earn eight from each side of the PMI Talent Triangle®. You will need eight technical project management PDUs, eight leadership PDUs, and eight strategic and business management PDUs all adding up to 24 PDUs. The remaining 11 educational PDUs can be from any side of the triangle.

Now to the 25 maximum giving back PDUs. Of these, a maximum of eight can come from working as a project management professional. The other 17 PDUs can come from volunteering or creating knowledge.

Here are a few ideas on activities that can help you earn PDUs:

  1. Create content and publish articles demonstrating thought leadership in the project management industry. For example, you can publish articles via PMI’s Knowledge Shelf.
  2. Volunteer to manage projects in your community or for a non-profit or charity organization.
  3. Take PDU courses through a Registered Education Provider (R.E.P).
  4. Attend seminars or events at your local PMI chapter.
  5. Demonstrate professional engagement through speaking at an event.
  6. Teach others about project management (i.e., holding a course for your clients or colleagues.)

What are Some Tips on Earning PDUs?

While earning PDUs might sound like a tedious or time-consuming process, there are a few ways to make maintaining your PMP certification easier.

Develop a plan to maintain your PMP certification and start early.

You don’t want to spend the last few months of your CCR cycle trying to cram in 60 PDUs. Attempting to earn all your PDUs at the last minute would be stressful, and you’re not likely to learn much in the process. This means it’s important to develop a plan for earning your PDUs. Scheduling out your activities allows your work at a steady pace instead of trying to frantically earn all your PDUs in a short timeframe. Instead, you could earn 20 PDUs a year, for example, minimizing stress.

Document your PDU activities as you go.

To ensure you get credit for every earned PDU, you need to be sure to document your industry engagement as it’s happening. Not only do you have to earn PDUs, you also have to be able to verify them to PMI to get credit. So, the best way to document them is online though the CCR System.

Make sure PDU programs are registered.

If you’re taking courses to earn PDUs, you need to verify that the courses you’re taking are registered with and approved by PMI. You don’t want to invest time and effort into learning if you’re not totally positive you’ll get credit for your efforts.

To make the certification renewal process an easy one, the best course of action is to stay organized and diligent.

Don’t view maintaining your certification as an inconvenience. Instead, view it as an opportunity to hone your project management skills and learn more about your profession. You’ll discover ways to improve your processes, and you can contribute to the industry and share your knowledge as well. It’s beneficial for everyone, you, your employer, your clients, your peers, your employees, and the industry if you’re maintaining your PMP credential.

It’s wise to maintain your PMP credential, so you can keep working as and earning as a certified project manager. With a little effort and planning, you’ll meet your requirements with ease.

Do you want to learn more about what it takes to earn and maintain the PMP certification? Check out The Complete PMP Certification Guide now.

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Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO
Director of Product Development at
Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO